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warfare-msg - 5/30/11


Period warfare.


NOTE: See also the files: Women-Battle-art, wounds-msg, siege-engines-msg, mercenaries-msg, battle-ideas-msg, pottery-wepns-msg, p-armor-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: jvincent at eagle.wesleyan.edu (The Ulair)

Date: 25 Sep 91 20:12:09 GMT

Organization: Wesleyan University


   Greetings to the Rialto from Eirik Bjarnason!


     Recently, one good gentle inquired as to the size of armies

during our lives. I shall present the results I have found in the works of

the learned clerk J.F.Verbruggen in his "The Art of Warfare in Western Europe

During the Middle Ages". The figures cited are for the First Crusade and

the Kingdom of Jerusalem.



Date               Battle                 #of Knights     #of foot-soldiers


1098     Battle of The Lake of Antioch       700             -------

        Battle of Antioch                 (500-600)         -------

1099     Ascalon                           1,200             9,000

1101     Ramla                               260               900

1102     Ramla                               200              ------

1102     Jaffa                               200

1105     Ramla                               700             2,000

1119     Athareb                             700             3,000

1119     Hab                                 700

1125     Hazarth                           1,100             2,000


Also, at Bremule Louis VI fought Henry I {then Duke of Normandy} with

400 to 500 knights, respectively. In 1217, the English King used 400 knights

and 347 crossbowmen against his rebellious barons, who had 611 knights and

1,000 foot soldiers.


As additional evidence that such forces were small, feudal rolls and documents

show that in Normandy in 1172 only 581 knights had to be raised for the Duke's

army from 1,500 fiefs. In Brittany in 1294, 166 knights and 16 squires were

obliged to perform military service for the Duke.

                 Hopefully soon, I will have an analysis of major battles of

the Hundred Years' War completed.

                Additional comments or requests are welcome. I hope this will

help shed some small illumination on the nature of battles during our time.


                         Yours in Service,


                          Eirik Bjarnason

                          Haven's End

                          Barony of Dragonship Haven

                          East Kingdom


From: sbloch at euler.ucsd.edu (Steve Bloch)

Date: 28 Sep 91 16:41:21 GMT

Organization: Mathematics  at  UCSD


jvincent at eagle.wesleyan.edu (The Ulair) lists some sample army sizes

from the time of the First Crusade, the largest example by far being

the Battle of Ascalon, with 1200 knights and 9000 grunts.


I would point out that Compleat Anachronist #56 gives a similar list

for major battles of the Byzantine empire, and the numbers there are

an order of magnitude larger, the largest being the Battle of Amorium

(year 838) with a total 170,000 troops in the field.



Stephen Bloch

mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib


sbloch at math.ucsd.edu


Date: Wed, 20 Nov 91 00:06 EDT

From: JRECHTSCHAFF at hamp.hampshire.edu

Subject: Numbers at Crecy


Greetings to Rialto,

   A few digests ago, a gentle posted that there were 20,000 crossbowmen

at the battle of Crecy in 1346.  According to Alfred Burne in his book

_The Crecy War_, there were about 6,000 crossbowmen, the French army as

a whole at the battle totalled around 40,000. (p175-76).  The crossbowmen

were placed in a terrible position and were caught between the English

archers and cannon and the French knights who rode them down from behind.

It did not help that the Count d'Alencon, brother of King Philip VI, suspected

the crossbowmen were traitors (they were actually fleeing from the English

arrows) and ordered his division to ride them down.  Needless to say, the

crossbowmen (Genoese mercanaries) started attacking the French in self-

defense. Alecon was killed in the Fray.  The English army, by the way,

numbered around 12,000 to 13,000 (Crecy War p.170).


Reference: Alfred H. Burne _The Crecy War_ (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1955)

In Service,

Lyanna ferch Gwynhelek of Bergental

Barony of Bergental EK


24 Jan 92

From: kleber at husc10.harvard.edu (Gwydden "Galen" ap Hafgan)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Harvard University Science Center


Quoth Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.FidoNet.Org (Dave Aronson):


>I have a question about the oil that was heated or set afire and then

>poured from battlements onto attackers.  What SORT of oil was it

>usually? Mineral?  Vegetable?  Animal?  Please be as specific as

>possible. Ten queue.


According to my high school history teacher (well, *I* consider her

authoritative... :-), that's another of those "false facts"-- no castle

in its right mind would have poured precious oil over the walls just to

scald enemies.  Especially if you're under seige, you want all your resources

conserved-- and boiling the old laundry water might not get as hot, but it

sure don't hurt any less, and there's a whole lot more of it!


--Gwydden ("Galen") ap Hafgan             I don't have an overactive

Provost of the Borough of Duncharloch   imagination... I have an

--kleber at husc.harvard.edu                 underactive reality...  --EG


25 Jan 92

From: dani at netcom.COM (Dani Zweig)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Netcom - Online Communication Services  (408 241-9760 guest)


Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.FidoNet.Org (Dave Aronson):

>I have a question about the oil that was heated or set afire and then

>poured from battlements onto attackers.  What SORT of oil was it usually?

>Mineral? Vegetable?  Animal?  Please be as specific as possible.


Not as specific as I'd prefer but...  Pouring *burning* oil would be

hideously expensive, and not very practical.  Oil heated to the boiling

point (any sort would do, but in practice it's going to be vegetable)

is still too expensive to be a routine ploy, but it could be highly

effective in restricted emergency situations.  (If you've ever been

spattered by a single drop of hot oil, you'll know that it's distracting.)



Dani of the Seven Wells

dani at netcom.com


26 Jan 92

From: bill at psych.toronto.edu (Bill Pusztai)

Organization: Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto


Greetings and Blessings to all assembled.

on 20 Jan 1992 Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.FidoNet.Org (Dave Aronson) wrote:

/I have a question about the oil that was heated or set afire and then

/poured from battlements onto attackers.  What SORT of oil was it

/usually? Mineral?  Vegetable?  Animal?  Please be as specific as

/possible. Ten queue.

As far as I know, oil was only ever used *cold*, to cause

slippage, and then rarely, due to expense (somewhere in my

library is reference to two large jars of olive oil being a

year's wages for an unskilled labourer).

What WAS used was heated sand - reputedly, first deployed against

Alexander the Great during his siege of one of the hilltop cities

on his way to India.

The method was to fill a vessel with sand (the ladles and beakers

and crucibles from foundries were used) and bake it in the brick

ovens for about half of one watch (say, 4 hours), until it glowed

cherry red (about cone 012, 850 C, 1500 F - only sand that was

nearly pure silica would take this treatment, any impurities

would tend to lower its fusing point -that is, it would melt). It

was then poured over invaders. Besides causing casualties

directly, it also set flammables afire. It's use occasioned the

same kind of consternation that napalm would today - indeed, they

are similar in effect (thoroughly horrid).

May God Bless and Keep you. Your servant,

                                   Fra. Capricornus

26 Jan 92

From: viking at iastate.edu (Dan Sorenson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Iowa State University, Ames IA


>Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.FidoNet.Org (Dave Aronson):

>>I have a question about the oil that was heated or set afire and then

>>poured from battlements onto attackers.  What SORT of oil was it usually?

>>Mineral? Vegetable?  Animal?  Please be as specific as possible.


      I would suspect it of being animal oil heated to the boiling point,

mainly because I believe this to be the cheapest and most easily obtainable

oil one could find inside a seiged castle.


      I do wonder at the very idea, though.  Boiling waste water may as

well have been used, as well as any other fluid one could boil.  The idea

was to distract, right?  Why use oil when simple water would work just as

well and be much cheaper for a beseiged castle to afford?


      Boiling honey is much worse than boiling oil, by the way, in that

it sticks like napalm and burns almost as badly.  If a castle had an ample

supply this may have been used, but as a sugar source it was probably too

valuable to waste pouring on attackers.  Better the remains of the stew

or the rancid milk nobody wanted to drink yesterday.


<============================================================<Dan Sorenson, z1dan at exnet.iastate.edu, aka viking at iastate.edu Dod #1066>

<If you think I speak for anybody else, you and I should get together...>

<   Erik Aarskog,  Canton of Axed Root, located somewhere in Calontir   >



28 Jan 92

From: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd.

Reply-To: cav at bnr.ca (Rick Cavasin)


Unto the good folk of the Rialto does Balderik send his greetings.


Regarding burning oil, those having access to the technology

would undoubtedly use Greek fire.  As this was a closely guarded

secret, it may not have been available outside Byzantium.


Burning pitch seems to ring a bell in my memory.  This again would

have an effect like napalm, and might be somewhat cheaper than

various oils.  No doubt a certain amount could be stored in

a castle for the purpose of defense.





30 Jan 92

From: 72007.302 at compuserve.COM (Clayton Neff)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: The Internet


To: >INTERNET:SCA at mc.lcs.mit.edu

Fujimoto writes:


> Dave Aronson asks what sort of oil was poured onto attackers of a castle.


> If I recall correctly, pouring oil onto attackers was mostly a

> Hollywood invention; you wouldn't waste good oil that way.  


> On the other hand, you wouldn't mind wasting, say, chamber pot

> contents on an attacker...this had the advantage that the attackers,

> if they got in, could be immediately located.... ;-)


> Erik suggests boiling water, which seems unlikely for the same reason

> that heated honey seems unlikely.  You would NOT waste your limited

> water supply that way, because if you ran out of water, you had to

> surrender anyway.  (Of course, if you had an unlimited water supply,

> say like those castles on small rivers and what, then it's feasible).


When touring the castle at Conwy in Wales, our tour guide walked us through

as if we were attacking it.  After getting inside the city walls, crossing

the dry moat, hacking our way through the drawbridge, crossing the next

dry moat, and figthing our way through the first killing passage, we stood

in the courtyard still outside the castle proper.  (Realistically no one

would have made it that far, as the obstacles were all but insurrmountable.)


Here he pointed to the battlements and described the wooden platforms that

were there in period, and he described the holes there would have been in

the floors of them.  He then proceeded to debunk the myths about boiling

oil, lead, and water, for much the same reasons as have already been stated.

What he said they did use, which was in large supply in castles in period was

pitch. They would heat the pitch until it became liquid, and then pour it

through the holes, setting it on fire with a torch as it went.  This was an

effective equivalent for naplam, as it stuck to whatever it touched and

continued to burn.  Very nasty stuff.


The rest of the defenses of the castle were also _very_ impressive, and I

wasn't surprised when he said the castle had never been taken by force.


-- Logan --


Duncan Bruce of Logan                                           Clayton Neff

Forgotten Sea, Calontir                                      Kansas City, MO


Re: burning oil poured from castletops

31 Jan 92

From: trifid at agora.uucp (Roadster Racewerks)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Open Communications Forum


Both pitch and lead were commonly used in repair around the castle. Pitch for

caulking and preserving rope, and lead for repair of roofs. There was also

the rendered fat of the animals slaughtered to feed the garrison. In at least

one case a plague victim was catapaulted into the enemy ranks by the dying

opposition, and more than one injured or dead horse, mule, or ox made the

same abrupt trip... Castles had an opening in the ceiling of the gate area,

called, aptly, a "murder hole", where once the intruders got past the first

defense they could be pinned in the entry, and hot pitch, large stones, spears

and arrows could be rained down...whatever was lying around the house, so to

speak. (Beams could be shoved behind the entry to block retreat, and often

the drawbridge was arranged to slam them into this small space. Or some had a

pit they were dumped into, and when it was lowered afterward, they were

crushed by the counterweight. Very effective...)





Subject: ANST - "Medieval Warfare in Manuscripts"

Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 14:14:08 -0600

From: Amy Forsyth <aforsyth at uh.edu>

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


Something for both the illuminators and the fighters!



"Medieval Warfare in Manuscripts"

Pamela Porter

64 p. : col. ill. ; c2000

University of Toronto Press

co-published by the British Library

ISBN 0802084001

est. cost?  $15-$20



Color illuminations taken from 40 manuscripts.


Section titles:


       The art of war

       Knights, chivalry, and the training for war

       Knightly arms and armour

       Armies and battle

       Castles and sieges

       Gunpowder and the decline of Medieval warfare



Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2007 18:24:13 -0600 (CST)

From: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

Subject: [SCA-AS] [Fwd: TMR 07.11.05 France, Medieval Warfare


To: "Arts and Sciences in the SCA"

      <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>,  "East Kingdom A&S List"

      <EK_AnS at yahoogroups.com>, eisental at browser.net


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: TMR 07.11.05 France, Medieval Warfare (Hosler)

From:    "The Medieval Review" <tmrl at indiana.edu>

Date:    Tue, November 6, 2007 4:46 pm

To:      tmr-l at indiana.edu

        bmr-l at brynmawr.edu



France, John, ed. "Medieval Warfare, 1000-1300".  International

Library of Essays on Military History.  London: Ashgate, 2006.  Pp.

644. $250.00.  ISBN: 075462515X.


   Reviewed by John D. Hosler

        Morgan State University

        jhosler at jewel.morgan.edu


John France has assembled a remarkable collection of articles for this

volume in Ashgate's "International Library of Essays on Military

History" series.  It helps to complete the chronology of the Middle

Ages by accompanying existing and forthcoming Ashgate volumes on

Byzantium, medieval warfare between 1300 and 1450, and so-called "Dark

Age" warfare of the post-Roman period (a volume co-edited by France

and Kelly DeVries).  Included essays do not have to abide by any

preconceived thematic notions, and the assortment collected here

ranges from battle studies to questions of defensive architecture and

even gender.  Given that France selected thirty-one articles for

inclusion and provided a useful review essay in the Introduction, it

would be tedious to review each and every item here.  Instead, I'd

like to review the contents and comment on their representation of

warfare in the High Middle Ages.


In the general preface, series editor Jeremy Black remarks that each

volume contains, "the editor's selection of the most seminal recent

essays on military history in their particular area of expertise"

(ix).  This suggests a widely-cast net that nonetheless allows for

thematic repetition based on pure quality of research.  Many subjects

are thus treated in multiple essays, with a general breakdown as

follows: the Crusades (12); castles, fortifications, and siege-craft

(6); obligation, army composition, and knighthood/cavalry (5); finance

and logistics (4); campaigns, generalship, and strategy (4); England

(4); individual commanders (3); mercenaries (2); horses (2); and the

Low Countries (2).  Five articles center on individual battles,

demonstrating the past and present fascination with field actions and

what they reveal about generalship and tactics.


The bulk of the essays cover warfare in two broadly construed

geographical areas.  The first of these is the Anglo-Norman world.

Included are some very influential essays indeed, such as Stephen

Brown's noteworthy inquiry on the role of mercenaries, Charles

Coulson's important corrective to castle studies that emphasizes other

elements of fortification beyond the architecturally defensive, and a

trio of articles by Matthew Bennett, Michael Prestwich, and John

Gillingham that have remained serious revisions on traditional views

of the supremacy of cavalry and the uses of medieval battle.  Other

essays on Normandy, Flanders, Anjou, and England round out a

reasonably full consideration of military operations in the Isles and

French provinces (though Scottish, Irish, and Welsh warfare is notably



The second geographical focus of the book is warfare in the Latin

east.  Given that military study of the Crusades has become

fashionable again in the past two decades a range of essays on the

subject seems justifiable. Fully twelve of the thirty-one articles

center on dimensions of crusading efforts.  Fortifications and

logistics figure heavily in France's selections: two studies of

crusader castles, a third by A.J. Forey on the siege of Damascus in

1148, the maintenance of Western armies (Alan V. Murray), the

transportation of horses by ship (John H. Prior), and the excellent

and useful 1963 study by John W. Nesbitt on crusading armies' rates of

march.  France's own expertise is on display here, for the selections

are remarkable for their insight and coverage.


Acknowledging the book's geographical breakdown does not imply that

one or multiple areas of inquiry are needlessly neglected; indeed, the

essays are notable for their overall relevance and application across

the wars of the period. However, there remains a certain lack of

coverage.  English military history both prior to the Battle of

Hastings and after 1200 is absent, as are any explicitly French

operations in the west (there is only one reference to Bouvines in the

index, for example).  Claude Gaier's essay on Liege and Looz is an

important study of troop types, numbers, and regional conflicts in

Brabant and points around the northern Rhine, but that is as far east

as it gets: there is little coverage of the Empire and/or Italy unless

it is connected to crusading ventures (such as H.E.J. Cowdrey's

article on the 1087 Mahdia campaign).  One wishes for expanded

treatments of central Europe and also more peripheral areas such as

Spain, an increasingly fertile area for military scholars, but there

is only the older (1966) but useful study by Elena Lourie on its

obligations and military institutions. France's collection does not

seem to be intended as comprehensive, so complaints about scope and

coverage are less a criticism than a regret that more space was



Physically, this is a formidable book at 644 pages with a semi-

problematic layout.  Each article is reprinted in its initial format

and retains its original page numbers and font.  This is very useful

for reference purposes, and Ashgate has thoughtfully provided a

separate pagination that runs through the entire volume (references to

page numbers in this review refer to the latter).  One unfortunate

consequence of the reprinting, however, rears its head in the

notations of the older articles. Many of the references are in

abbreviated form because the original journal in which they appeared

contained a list of common works and their shorthand forms.  This

becomes apparent in the very first article, John Prestwich's

distinguished study on war and finance, which contains incomplete

citations to the <i>Dialogus de Scaccario</i> (only one of three

editors is listed and no publication date) and two separate references

to <i>Obligations of Society in the XII and XIII centuries</i> and

<i>English Society in the Eleventh Century</i> that lack either

authors or any publication attribution (1-2).  It appears that the

more recent essays are essentially self-contained and do not suffer

from such problems.  The book's index is a rather large and useful,

listing of both historical and modern names, but there are regrettably

no entries for places or events. There are no maps, figures, or

genealogical tables besides those provided in the original essays

themselves, but these are generally sufficient for comprehension and

of a high quality.


The principal drawback of this volume, as is the case with every

volume in the series, is its hefty price tag of 250 U.S. dollars, a

cost that has often stayed my hand and wallet at conference book

sales.  Ashgate has planned thirty-four volumes in the series, and

each volume published so far ranges in price between $195.00 and

$250.00.  The cost is thus prohibitive, even for those looking to

purchase just the four projected volumes on the medieval Europe and

Byzantium.  I suspect most copies will be purchased by research

libraries, for which such edited collections are good bargains,

especially given the ubiquitous decline of institutional journal



Is there a perfect method of collecting and publishing academic

essays?  One could complain about this or that subject being neglected

or perhaps argue for a different thematic focus, but France's

collection is undoubtedly one of prime importance that effectively

highlights both older and newer trends in medieval military history.

Every essay is valuable in its own right, and scholars of warfare

would do well to add this book to their collections--or, perhaps,

borrow a copy from their library.


-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:52:17 +0800

From: Columb mac Diarmata <columb.mac.diarmata at gmail.com>

Subject: [Lochac] Hundred year's war database online

To: "The Shambles, the SCA Lochac mailing list" <lochac at sca.org.au>,

      WA SCA List <WASCAL at yahoogroups.com>




A website detailing the lives of 250,000 soldiers that served in the

Hundred Years War has gone online.


The site, which has been set up by researchers at Southampton and

Reading Universities, is currently running slowly due to high levels

of traffic.


"Due to exceptional demand the site may run a little slowly today.

Please check back soon!" a message on the site reads.


The files, which relate to soldiers who served between 1369 and 1453,

include salary and sickness records.


The Medieval Soldier website also includes information about soldiers

who served at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.


Records relating to John Judde, Merchant of London and Master of the

Kings Ordinance, and John Fort esquire of Llanstephan, who was found

guilty of treason, are also on the site.


"The project has an innovative methodological approach and will be

producing an online searchable resource for public use of immense

value and interest to genealogists as well as social, political and

military historians," a spokesman for the project said.







From: robert segrest <aumbob at yahoo.com>

Date: April 20, 2011 1:37:33 PM CDT

To: bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


<<< How many sq miles does a standing army in the 13th  century take.   Any one know?


Oops. That's a army of 30 thousand >>>


Your question needs a few more specifics to be answered with any accuracy and,

to some degree, doesn't really have a definitive answer. I assume that you are

asking because of some sort of a project where you want an estimate for the sake

of realism. I will try to give you some parameters that will help you get a

sense, if not a clear answer to your question.


1) It depends on what you mean by "Army". First of all, 30,000 people is a

really big army for that time period. There were armies that large and larger,

but most battles were fought by hundreds to thousands (based on a quick survey

of 12th century battles on Wikipedia, but consistent with other reading I have

done). Some of the Mongol armies have been estimated to be as large as 150,000

combatants. When we talk about pre-modern armies, we have to distinguish between

combatants and people. Depending on whose army, where they were, what they were

doing and other factors, an army might be little more than combatants or it

might have 5 times as many people attached to it as would actually fight. These

people would include supply trains, families, sightseers, etc. So it is

important to distinguish what question you are asking. The amount a land an army

might take to camp could have been far out of proportion to its number of



2) It depend on what you mean by room 'taken'. A foot soldier standing in ranks,

then or now, takes about up about 8 square feet. That about a 2' by 2' space to

stand in and another, equal space in between ranks. The square footage doesn't

change much from a column of march to a line of battle. Cavalry take up a lot

more space, I'm going to guess about 25 square feet for a horse and rider, with

some room to maneuver, but I might be off on that estimate. Siege engines,

baggage trains, etc. would take up substantially more room. That said, there are

27,878,400 sq. feet in a sq. mile. That means you could put almost 3.5 million

infantry in ranks in a sq. miles space. At my estimate, you could put over a

million cavalry in the same space. Working the other way, 30,000 infantry in

ranks could fit in about 4 acres with some room to spare. Of course, you don't

stand 30,000 men in ranks and try to fight a battle. The army would have been

divided into many units and subunits. Usually an army would be somewhat divided

between a center, right, and left divisions (generically, and there is o such

thing a generic battle). Those divisions would have been divided further,

sometimes along family or feudal lines, or possibly by unit lines in some of the

eastern armies. Some units would be assigned to protect specific strategic

locations. So the same number of men who could fit into about a modern city

block might occupy an area of 10 or more square miles. Most medieval

battlefields could be observed in their entirety from a single location (there

are definitely exceptions) so you might envision a good size cow pasture. Sieges

could be much larger, since the static nature of a siege allowed a commander to

relax direct control.


I hope this is helpful. If you really want to get a better picture, you'll have

to read up on some actual battles. The Wikipedia list of battles is pretty good,

but I doubt that anyone has compiled an exhaustive list. No matter what I, or

anyone else tells you, there are exceptions to everything. Battles come in all

shapes, sizes and cultural variations. In a time with no professional armies, no

standard doctrines and sketchy communications, the nature of battles was pretty



If there are any specific questions you have, I'd be happy to do my best to

answer them or refer you to someone who can





Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 10:12:32 -0500

From: Peter Holland <pholland64 at gmail.com>

Subject: [Ansteorra] check this out

To: Baorny of Bjornsborg <Bjornsborg at yahoogroups.com>,     "Kingdom of

   Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>


found this on the BBC web site




Thought it was interesting that the reason we have these records is because

of the exchequer:

Dr Bell said: "The service records survive because the English exchequer had a very modern obsession with wanting to be sure that the government's money was being spent as intended.


"Therefore we have the remarkable survival of indentures for service detailing the forces to be raised, muster rolls showing this service and naming every soldier from duke to archer."


He said accounts from captains showing how funds were spent and entries detailing when the exchequer requested the payments can be found.





From: Kim Jones <k1m at sbcglobal.net>

Date: July 21, 2009 11:03:06 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Soldiers of later medieval England


Interesting site.  If you go to database you can look up soldiers by name, rank etc.





From: Coblaith Muimnech <Coblaith at sbcglobal.net>

Date: July 23, 2009 2:25:51 PM CDT

To: "Inc. Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA" <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Ansteorra] medieval soldiers' surnames


We have over the last couple of days discussed the database for the The Soldier in Later Medieval England project, at <http://www.icmacentre.ac.uk/soldier/database/index.php>;, on this list, in threads with the subject lines "check this out", "here is the web site", "100 Years War soldier list", and "Agincourt war records".  Questions were raised as to whether some or all of the surnames in the database might have been normalized, due to an ambiguous statement on the website.  So I used the "for more information contact" link at the bottom of the index page to ask for clarification. Dr. Adrian Bell, Senior Lecturer in the History of Finance and Director of Teaching and Learning at the ICMA Centre, answered my inquiry, confirming that while the given names have been normalized, the surnames are unaltered.


Coblaith Muimnech



From: Conor mac Cinneide <conor.mac.cinneide at live.com>

Date: April 20, 2011 11:22:02 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


At Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) the English divided into three Battles (that is what the field units were called), one left, one right, and a reserve.


The French could barely be called am army and there was no such pretty divisions of the army.  They were close to a rabble...except that it would be impolite to call nobles and knights a rabble.  They outnumbered the English by at least five to one and believed they would easily crush them.


The English held a defensive position and the French units, if they can be called such, fed in one at a time in series because there was no organization, and the real commander was hours behind at the back of the train.


My point here is that what they French did at these battles should not be ascribed to some French way of doing things.  Whatever plan the French commanders had was never put into action because the advance guard did wait for orders.  They simply attacked and each group of knights attacked in turn as they arrived at the battlefield, because they each wanted their piece of the glory and ransoms that would come from defeating the English.  There was never any thought that the outcome was in doubt.


Sorry for the length, but the Hundred Years War is one of my interests.


Lastly, numbers....


English 2000-10000

French 10000-50000


Most historians tend to the smaller numbers while the larger are from the period chroniclers.



From: Zach Most <clermont1348 at yahoo.com>

Date: April 21, 2011 10:19:44 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


This is one of the biggest lessons we can learn from Bruce Lee movies.  Don't send your ninjas in one at a time.


The French commanders and chivalry can be condemned more completely for their tactical failures than even Burnside.  They had three huge defeats for running frontal charges over broken ground at an entrenched army within the span of a single man's life- Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt.  They're pretty much the only battles in the Hundred Years War that anglophiles seem to study.  I guess they don't want to think about the fact that England lost the war.  Clifford Rogers and Kelly Devries have written some outstanding books on the subject recently that shed some new light on it.


   In their defense, the French saw that they mostly beat their English adversaries in other contexts.  They did better in tournaments, both in jousting and foot combat.  They won most of the sieges, and most smaller battles.  Why should those battles have been any different?  And it wasn't just glory the French knights were after.  The ransom of even a modest lord was worth a fortune.  To put it in context- when the count of Nevers was captured by the Turks in 1396, the ransom was roughly the GDP of Burgundy, one of the most prosperous regions of Europe, for two years.  There were English kings, princes, dukes and barons in those happy little bands.  Adjusted for inflation it's literally saying you could get 4 trillion dollars (that's 2x the GDP of Great Britain) for charging up a hill and pummelling some guys you've beaten before.  Seriously it took a force of will and a lot of yelling from our commanders to keep our guys from crossing a bridge at Gulf War.  You want to put 4 trillion dollars on the table and try to hold them back?  Best of luck to you.


Random points-

Poitiers was complicated by the vow of the order of the Star, to not retreat. They lost a lot of good men.

I'd wager that Connor's numbers were concocted by an English minister of propaganda.





From: Marlin and Amanda Stout <ldcharles at sbcglobal.net>

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Sent: Thu, April 21, 2011 7:01:56 AM

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


Conor mac Cinneide wrote:

At Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) the English divided into three Battles (that is what the field units were called), one left, one right, and a reserve.


The English held a defensive position and the French units, if they can be called such, fed in one at a time in series because there was no organization, and the real commander was hours behind at the back of the train.


A situation Gen. Burnside should have recognized (and avoided) 5 centuries later at Fredricksburg. Just goes to show that the old saw about not learning from history really is true.


My point here is that what they French did at these battles should not be ascribed to some French way of doing things.  Whatever plan the French commanders had was never put into action because the advance guard did wait for orders.  They simply attacked and each group of knights attacked in turn as they arrived at the battlefield, because they each wanted their piece of the glory and ransoms that would come from defeating the English.  There was never any thought that the outcome was in doubt.


It should also be pointed out that the French nobility were also exceedingly concerned with personal honor and glory, to the exclusion of military sense. You would expect, in an army the size of that which the French fielded at Crecy and Poitiers (or later at Agincourt) that somebody would recognize that piecemeal attacks were suicidal and hold back the follow-on units until they could be organized into an attack that had a prayer of succeeding. If anyone did, and tried to do anything about it, he would have been ignored by knights and lords whose main concern was to get into the fight so as not to lose out on the glory, or to not be seen by their peers as cowards for delaying their entry into the battle. Which says volumes about the importance of an army being trained to act as a whole, rather then being a gaggle of different armed mobs.





From: Conor mac Cinneide <conor.mac.cinneide at live.com>

Date: April 21, 2011 10:24:36 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


Actually, the French did learn a lesson from Crecy and Poitiers, and changed tactics for the next 50 years.  Few people seem to remember that between Poitiers in 1356 and Agincourt in 1415, the French had won back most of what they had lost. Unfortunately, they fell into the same trap at Agincourt and suffered the same type of defeat. Even in those days people failed to learn from history.



From: Conor mac Cinneide <conor.mac.cinneide at live.com>

Date: April 21, 2011 11:01:04 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Army


I replied to another message before seeing this, so you can read that for some thoughts on French tactics.


While technically Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt are fought in one man's lifespan, 69 years, no one who fought at Crecy would still have been fighting at Agincourt. The French have a different King at each of three battles, and the losses at Crecy were so heavy that the list of nobles at Poitiers are mostly young men.


"I'd wager that Connor's numbers were concocted by an English minister of propaganda.




Of course, most of it comes from Froisart...at least the huge numbers come from him.  More modern historians tend towards the lower numbers and a ratio closer to 2:1 or 3:1, rather than the 5:1 that is generally claimed by the chroniclers closer to the actual events, who were generally writing for the English.


The victors write the history.


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